Last weekend, we were lucky enough to be invited to judge the Summersonic local bands competition at MAO. Essentially, the MAO Livehouse chain is “sponsoring” 8 bands to head off to Asia’s biggest music festival, the 2-city monster that is Summersonic (we’re not sure exactly what the financial details of the trip are).
Beijing Daze has an account of the Beijing final HERE.
First off, great idea. Japan is an obvious market when it comes to exporting Chinese music – it’s only a 3 hour flight, it’s a very trend focused market, and it would be great to export some soft power to diffuse some of the ill feeling that exists between the two nations. Credit to MAO and Summersonic for creating this platform.
In August 2009, the music scene in China took a significant step forward with the soft opening of what could be considered as China’s first world class venue. With a flown D&B rig packing a serious punch (albeit rarely used properly), a good-sized stage lit by a decent selection of lights, and a nice square room with pool tables, bar and seating surrounding a large dance floor, this is a room for proper bands.
Back in June, we reported that there had been a breakdown in the business relationship between Soma and Zhijiang Dream Factory. This had been a controversial move in the first instance and you can read early thoughts HERE.
Having failed to make the Dream Factory work, SOMA are now moving a little further out of downtown, to a slightly larger venue. We know that they will have managed to broker a better deal at the new venue, because we were acquianted with the venue’s previous (and brief) tenants, WTF. WTF had a short spell in the previous Candy Club, which was the previous O2 Club. In fact, no-one has managed to make that space work and all prior owners have shut down within months.
In what amounts to harassment of foreigners in Beijing leading up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC and in what appears to be a first comprehensive “pub crawl” search, Chinese Immigration officials were out in full force in the Drum & Bell Tower/Nanluoguxiang area last Thursday, entering bars and checking foreigner’s passports and visa status.
They entered MAO Livehouse and stopped the in-progress show to check the passports of China-based Norwegian band “Luohan.” The show was reported stopped for 10 minutes, and Mao staff were questioned as to why a foreign band was performing without proper ID and visas.
The show was allowed to resume, but MAO will no doubt be working through various means and ways to ensure China Immigration does not again take a sovereign interest in their humble home of live music.
We have covered the viccissitudes of Shanghai’s only mid-sized live venue in great detail. You can read the original assessment of the saga here, and the update here.
Well, it seems like Soma Records have bitten off more than they can chew, and are exiting their relationship with the Dream Factory after only 2 months of some great but mostly disappointing shows. Rumour abounds that they will team up with Beijing’s Mao and re-open Soma Live (or Mao Shanghai) in a venue that they have had their eyes on for quite some time. More to follow soon!!
What do you think? Why didn’t the Dream Factory work as a proper venue. Will Soma be able to work it out with another venue/ deal?
We’ve been blogging a bit about the Converse Love Noise tour, which wrapped a few weeks ago with a free grand finale show at Mao Live House in Beijing that incorporated all the supporting acts from the previous 10 days on the road. Converse brought a reporter and photographer from London’s Dazed Digital (the online offshoot of Dazed & Confused magazine) over to cover the tour, and the fruits of their labours are now available here.